Monuments, hometown celebrities, a vibrant cultural scene – all these lend even small towns a sense of place. But perhaps what distinguishes a place are the stories it tells.
Of course, writers do the heavy lifting. As part of our occasional literary tour of Texas, we find ourselves in the storybook capital of Texas: Abilene.
Glenn Dromgoole, co-chair of the West Texas Book Festival, owns the Texas Star Trading Company, an Abilene bookstore.
Dromgoole says the story collection “Abilene Stories: From Then to Now” covers a wide range of Abilene history and culture. Some stories center on church and school – Abilene is home to three religiously affiliated universities – while others cover art and literature, weather and nature, as well as sports and leisure.
Author A.C. Greene, an Abilene native, wrote a series of essays about going home again.
“He talks about how every person has a village in their heart, the place that they consider home, a place where they’ll take you in,” Dromgoole says. “He writes about Abilene being the village in his heart – that still resonates with people here pretty well.”
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– How Greene’s work speaks to the larger sentiment of West Texas feeling like home
– Why the West Texas Book Festival presents an award named after Greene each year
– How an daring escape from a Japanese prison camp during WWII reflects the lore of Abilene locals